Earth to Echo, rated PG
Just in time for the July 4th holiday is Earth to Echo, a new family film about self-described “good kids” who receive signals on their cell phones, leading them to an extra-terrestrial. Earth to Echo is a “found footage” movie (the handheld, cell-phone-video filmmaking style popularized by Chronicle, Paranormal Activity and Cloverfield). I’m all for Spielberg-inspired summer alien movies (such as J.J. Abrams’s great Super 8 from three years ago), but I hope the action in Earth to Echo isn’t rendered incomprehensible by its filmmaking gimmick.
Jupiter Ascending, rated PG-13
Jupiter Ascending is this summer’s only other major non-franchise effects-driven film (the other being Edge of Tomorrow). Directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski (The Matrix), whose Cloud Atlas wasn’t nearly as popular as it ought to have been, the film stars Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis. Here’s hoping that an original science-fiction concept and the Wachowskis’s willingness to take risks will help Jupiter Ascending succeed this summer.
Jack Kyser is a graduate of Austin High School and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.